What It Takes to be a Cybersecurity Professional: The Non-Technical Skills You Need

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Organizations around the world are being targeted – often from an unseen enemy. Cyberthreats are a plague on systems and data, and combatting them is costly and time-consuming.

In order to defend against bad actors, organizations need the talent and skills on staff to detect and mitigate cyberthreats. This has led to massive opportunity in the field of cybersecurity. Research shows the global workforce needs a staggering influx of 2.7 million cybersecurity professionals to meet demand.1

Cybersecurity is a strong career choice for many reasons. It offers opportunities globally and in all industries. There are more than 50 career paths to choose from and it’s widely seen as a field that’s future-proof.

For those looking to get their foot in the door, some entry-level roles include security analyst, security specialist, security architect, junior pentesters and system architects. Eventually, many move into senior-level roles, including security manager or even CSO or CISO.

All cybersecurity roles require a core set of essential skills that demand more than technical knowledge. There are many non-technical skills professionals bring to the table. Here are some of the essential ones you’ll need to succeed:

Collaboration and teamwork There’s a saying in cybersecurity: “Security is everyone’s business.” Caring about and investing in cybersecurity is a mindset that goes from top management down to every employee in the organization. That’s why it’s imperative for cybersecurity professionals to bring a team work ethic to their role. Being able to collaborate is essential for getting buy in from all on security’s mission.

Leadership and communication –  Cybersecurity pros need to demonstrate credibility, responsiveness and ethics. Strong communication skills and the ability to give presentations can help you earn trust from senior management and your peers. It’s also important to be comfortable with presenting because team members are often asked to demonstrate return on investment for their efforts and present trends to the board and executive management.

Passion for learning – Cybersecurity is always evolving. Professionals in the field are expected to continuously learn the latest cybersecurity trends, technologies and challenges facing organizations.

Determination – Part of the evolution of cybersecurity is among the bad actors who target organizations. They’re almost always changing their tactics. That’s why determination and persistence is important to deal with the dynamic threat landscape.

Analytical and critical thinking – Cybersecurity pros need to be analytical regarding how incidents occur, the attack surfaces prone to exploitation and how to minimize cyberattacks. An analytical and insightful professional anticipates how hackers will exploit the network and its applications.

While training, experience and certifications are all important to prepare for a role in cybersecurity, it’s also important to bring these and more core non-technical skills to your job search.

Learn about specific job roles in cybersecurity and what it takes to get started in the field. Download the ISC2 eBook, Is a Career in Cybersecurity Right for Me?

1 2021 ISC2 Cybersecurity Workforce Study

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